How Agencies Can Break the Cycle of Groundhog Day.

PHIL: Today is tomorrow. It happened. You're here; I'm here.

RITA: Why weren't you like this last night?

PHIL: It was the end of a very long day.


It's Groundhog Day.

It’s a special day. A day when a town in western Pennsylvania puts the predicated conditions of the atmosphere down to the movements of a rodent.

It is also, thanks to a wonderful movie, a term used to describe a reoccurring situation.

The concept for the film based was around the question: "If a person could live forever, if a person was immortal, how would they change over time?" It later evolved into the final concept where the main character is living the same day over and over again.

If this happened to you what would you improve?

What would you do differently?

What things would you stop doing?

For too long agencies have been in their own version of Groundhog Day. Stuck in a rut of outmoded practices: doing the same thing simply because that’s always what’s been done.

It’s time for change.

In the spirit of Punxsutawney Phil, I urge you to move away from the norm and try something new. The process alone will be liberating and energising. The results might surprise you too.

Here a few suggestions.


See email as a last resort

We’re all overly reliant on email. Even emails from people I want to speak to get buried in the constant deluge. Emails selling things barely register unless I know the business already or have some form connection with them elsewhere.

There are so many other ways you can get hold of people you want to speak to. Starting conversations on social media feels like much less of an interruption. Get out of the office to network and find platforms for speaking engagements. Pick up the phone. Write a letter.

Email should be seen as only part of your arsenal. If you’ve exhausted all other avenues and you're still trying to find a way to get in touch with a prospect, by all means try an email. You’re more likely to get a response if you've tried connecting elsewhere.


Create more content

I’m still amazed at the number of agencies that aren’t developing content as part of their marketing activities. It should be a central part of your plan. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how you think, reinforce your worldview and is also an excellent way to develop your own perspective on new issues. The medium is up to you (usually what feels the most natural) but if you haven’t already, now is the time to start building your content machine.


Reflect on how you create value

The way agencies describe their value has become increasingly similar. The language can be jargon heavy and undifferentiated. When it comes to developing their own positioning, agencies have been living in a little industry bubble for too long. There is a disconnect between the value agencies create and how they talk about this value.

Try these 3 things:

1. Look hard at what you are best at (e.g. where have you delivered the best results).

2. Talk to clients and find out where their stress comes from.

3. Think deeply about why you started out in this industry and what gets you out of bed in the morning.

Going back to these fundamentals will help you to re-engage with your purpose and link this back to the real problems you are solving.


Embrace social media

I’m of the opinion that agency leaders need to have a presence on social media. Increasingly CEOs and senior marketers are active on Twitter and LinkedIn. If they’re not, I’d imagine they are being advised to do so. Social media is here to stay and your clients/potential clients will be active already. It’s also a great way to build relationships with the media.


Walk and talk

The link between discussion and walking recurs in history. Aristotle allegedly wandered about when instructing his students and Steve Jobs was known for taking walks when presented with difficult conversations.

There’s something to be said for getting out of the office and taking a stroll. I strongly believe it helps free up conversation and fuels creative thinking. I’m not suggesting you conduct important client meetings like this but informal team meetings or one-to-ones work really well as walking meetings.


Now back to Phil

It feels comforting and safe to continue doing what’s always been done. The issue is, if you don’t change, you’re always going to get the same outcome. If things are working well then this might not be an issue but if your new business engine isn’t performing how you’d like it to, it might be time to start try something different.

In the movie Phil commits himself to personal development in order to win over Rita. He learns the piano, how to sculpt ice and looks to help people wherever he can. Not just for his own personal gain but to make peoples lives better.

If he hadn’t improved himself and helped people he would never have won Rita’s heart.

He also had to change in order to move forward.

Outdated practices could be holding you back too.


Stuck in your own Groundhog Day nightmare? Get in touch to see how The Growth Consultancy can help you move forward.